perla nyc

Because listening to Nas and eating incredible Italian food is how life should be…

by Josh Madden

When it comes to eating out, we're averse to trying out new spots that friends hype up without checking out the website and hearing a few first-hand accounts. Dinner is pretty much the only meal we sit down for, and heading to some spot we've never heard of for Italian of all things sounds like a recipe for disaster. So we first have to thank our good buddy Andrew Keller for putting us onto the incredible restaurant that is Perla. We headed to the New York City spot a good 30 minutes after we were supposed to meet our party, which meant we lost our table and would have to wait just to sit at the bar. For some reason everything was okay as soon as we stepped inside, maybe it was because we heard some classic Nas into Outkast and the vibe of the space felt like our living room. So we're late and our friends don't seem to care, just standing around listening to a the perfect mix of '90s hip-hop and the crowd looks classy, okay, this is different. The next thing you know we're seated at the bar with some amazing homemade iced tea, focaccia, and some other-worldly tasting grilled octopus we've ever experienced while The College Dropout era Kanye West fills the air. It looks like we might be here for a while, plans for the rest of the night are being cancelled and this dinner is no doubt turning into one of those three hour hangs. The lingunie with Manila clams, ramps and breadcrumbs shows up as Common's "Come Close" echoes at just the right level. It's almost as if the music, the menu, and the "just enough light, not too bright, not too dark" equation has been figured and set by some mad scientist. Let's talk food for a minute, because that is what's being reviewed here. There is no way we can simply say linguine with breadcrumbs and achieve a description of the mix of texture and taste that does this dish justice. Let's just say, we chilled out on the ice tea and stuck with water because the taste was so on point that we wanted our palette to bask in that perfect mix of clams and mushrooms. Wait, did we mention that there is a huge photo from Mos Def's The New Danger album art in the dining room and a huge '90s era photo of Outkast and Goodie Mob in the restroom? After strolling around the packed restaurant we arrived back to our friends at the bar and the strawberry shortcake had arrived. So the dessert arrives and so does a 10 minute remix of Juicey J's Bands a make her Dance featuring everyone in hip-hop from the last 10 years. We didn't see one, but the combo of food and music made us wonder if there was a DJ in the kitchen next to the chef. Seriously if you ask us what everyone else had to eat we couldn't tell you, this meal was so good we were in a world of our own.If we rated restaurants with stars we'd give this place some Riccardo Ticci Givenchy stars and a pair of banned Jordan 1's. This place jumped in our top five after a single dinner (it really did last all night) and we'll be back next week. For more on Perla check them HERE and make reservations accordingly, but don't worry, even if you end up at the bar it's still a stellar experience.